Lombroso, Cesare

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  • Trained in Italy as a physician, Lombroso (1835–1909) is generally regarded as the most influential figure in biological positivism and is nicknamed the father of modern criminology. He was greatly influenced by Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) work on evolution. Lombroso's best-known work, The Criminal Man (1876), is a comparative study of Italian soldiers and Italian prison inmates. In the inmates, he identified atavistic human beings, or those he characterized as less evolved, or evolutionary “throwbacks” and more primitive. These natural-born criminals could be identified by physical stigmata, outer characteristics including high foreheads, large ears, and elongated eye teeth. Lombroso was one of the first to distinguish between male and female offenders in The Female Offender (1895), where he described women as generally less evolved than men ...

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